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GAPS Newsletter: May 2024

As May marks eight months of heightened bombardment and dehumanisation against the Palestinian people, we are sharing yet another newsletter with our call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and end to the brutal occupation in Palestine. Alongside many colleagues in civil society and activist spaces, GAPS has been urging the UK Government to take account of their actions which feed and legitimise the violence facing Gaza. The UK has made no movement to cease the trading of arms with Israel and, continues to obstruct international efforts towards justice: condemning the ICC’s application for arrest warrants and abstaining during the vote in the General Assembly on Palestine’s membership of the UN. Read GAPS’s full secretariat statement on the ICC arrest applications here.  The UK continues to operate without transparency or respect to international rule-based order. A court hearing raised by Palestinian organisation, Al-Haq, and UK-based, Global Legal Action Network on the UK’s arms sales to Israel since October 7, for example, has been delayed from April to October 2024. 

The ICC’s call for arrest warrants of Hamas and Israeli leaders has already been reduced to a whisper amongst the horrifying noise of the attacks on Rafah’s ‘safe zone’ camps. As we can see from this fatal attack, nowhere is safe if you are Palestinian, not even a hospital or humanitarian shelter. Palestinian humanity has been denied by Israel in its entirety. The UK’s red lines over Rafah have slowly blurred over time, from initially refusing to support a military offensive in Rafah to now adapting the definition of what constitutes a ‘major offensive’. In parallel, the Security Council held a debate, “Maintenance of international peace and security: the role of women and young people”, working towards synergies in the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) and Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agendas. The UK representative spoke to the importance of women’s equal and full participation as leaders, negotiators and peacebuilders, highlighting the UK’s programme for South Sudanese women peacebuilders and the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative, which places survivors at the heart of decision-making. These successes by the UK under the WPS agenda are undermined by the sharp counterpoint of the UK’s complicity in Gaza and its failings to refugees and asylum-seekers on the domestic level. 

The current UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has called for a General Election and with this comes the dissolution of Parliament. Sunak has stated that the first flights under the Rwanda Bill would not take place until after the election, despite the inhumane mass arrests taking place at the beginning of May. This temporary pause of the Rwanda Bill should provide a moment of reflection for the UK Government on this utter abuse of human rights within the rule of law. The UK must invest in a strengthened international system and ensure its WPS commitments are upheld domestically, internationally, consistently.  

May Reads

Advancing Intersectional Gender Analysis of Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament

Building on decades of work by gender scholars, women’s rights organizations and nuclear disarmament advocates, the papers explore gendered and intersectional dimensions of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, including: demographic diversity among policy communities; justice claims of nuclear survivors; gender gaps in public opinion on nuclear weapons; feminist foreign policies in Latin America and the Caribbean; and synergies between nuclear treaties and gender equality frameworks. Read the article here. 

Tamil Genocide Remembrance- 15 years on

Today, on the 15th anniversary of the Mullivaikkal Massacre, marked annually as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, PEARL stands with the victims and survivors of the Sri Lankan state’s genocide against the Tamil people. The Sri Lankan state committed unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, rape and other sexual violence against Tamils, and also denied them humanitarian assistance, including food. In the final stages of the war, Tamil civilians were told by the Sri Lankan government to take shelter in official “No Fire Zones,” where they were then intentionally bombed. Read the full statement here. 

Empowering Palestinian Women’s Active Political Participation

The research study, conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Peace and Democracy in 2022, delves into the nuanced landscape surrounding women’s participation in political spheres and peace processes in Occupied Palestine. Through a youth-led approach, the study sheds light on the multifaceted challenges. It offers strategic recommendations on increasing women’s participation in decision-making and the peace process between Israel and Palestine, primarily focusing on intra-Palestinian reconciliation efforts. Read the full study here. 

Impact of AI and cybersecurity on women, peace and security in South-East Asia

Systemic issues can put women’s security at risk when artificial intelligence (AI) is adopted, and gender biases across widely used AI-systems pose a significant obstacle to the positive use of AI in the context of peace and security in South-East Asia. Moreover, women human rights defenders (WHRDs) and women’s Civil Society Organisations (WCSOs) in the region are at high risk of experiencing cyber threats and, while largely aware of these risks, are not necessarily able to prepare for, or actively recover from, cyber-attacks. Read the full report here. 

In case you missed it

The Palestinian Feminist Collective released a statement, A Feminist Praxis for Academic Freedom in the Context of Genocide in Gaza. Read the statement here. 

GADN hosted a members’ meeting on feminist, anti-racist and decolonial perspectives on Palestine. This aimed to provide an educational space with for GADN members to engage with these issues through the perspectives and analyses of anti-Zionist feminist speakers of Palestinian and Jewish descent. Watch the meeting recording here.

ICAI have published a report on the UK’s humanitarian aid to Gaza, detailing the barriers that have preventing funding from accessing. Read the report here.

GAPS has released the latest episode of the LEAP4Peace podcast, ‘Mind the GAPS’ on Northern Ireland. Listen to the episode here.

Countdown 20230 published a factsheet with recommendations on how to include SRHR in WPS National Action Plans. Read the factsheet here.

UN Tools for Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: the UN has published a paper that analyses the relationship between the annual reports of the secretary-general on CRSV and sanctions designations to provide recommendations to enhance their complementarity. Read here. 

Job Board

Christian Aid 
Digital Optimisation Analyst (London), 16 June.

International Rescue Committee
Philanthropy Manager (London), 9th June.

Secretary-General (Geneva, preferred location), 13th June.

Womankind Worldwide
Interim Individual Giving Manager, (London), 9th June.

Care International
Senior Media Manager, (London), 7 June.

Action Aid 
CO-CEO Office Liaison and Internal Communications Lead, (London), 5 June.
Senior Digital Content Editor, (London), 5 June.

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